I actually went to these temples yesterday, because today’s (the 17th) post header wouldn’t have been particularly exciting. “Suits and sandwiches,” I guess. But yeah, picked up two tailored shirts and two suits from YaShow today (Alright listen. It’s YaXiu. 秀。 Xiu. Wade-Giles can go to hell for confusing me so much and making me unable to pronounce things properly. anyway–) for US $300 even, which is pretty incredible. Oh, and Dan got one measured, so when he goes back for fitting tomorrow I’ll be busy hawking my schoolmates’ bikes (shoutouts to andrew, david, ashley, anna, lauren, and chrissy for leaving me their keys) for lunch money in wudaokou. Also, mainly for my own benefit later, as a note to self I need to go back to Bocata and eat their local beef, bacon and cheese sandwich as frequently as is feasible. Holy god.
Also around Yashow, we saw a male version of a romper and a 70 year old woman wearing a polo clearly emblazoned with the playboy logo. Both pretty excellent. Both made me regret not having a camera on me.
Right now i just got back from City Mall, having seen a movie entitled “city under seige.” I was under the impression that this movie would be subtitled into english, mainly because A) it was an international theater and B) Dan told me that it was subtitled into english. In actuality it was indeed subtitled, but only into chinese. The film was absolutely terrible but the plot was simplistic enough so that I could follow it pretty well with the help of the subtitles; the forty quai ticket was almost worth it for the confidence boost that the experience of understanding at least 2/3rds of a movie in a different language bequeaths.

One of many Buddhas. Two stories tall. Shouldn't have taken this picture, but it was just too cool.

The temples yesterday were each awesome in their own right. The Yonghe / 雍和 / Lama temple is an operating Tibetan Buddhist monastery, and people there take things very seriously. They’re also making a racket on incense sticks, because in order to properly show respect to a given Buddha, believers or tourists are prompted to first burn three sticks of incense in their honor outside. There are at least thirty, maybe more Buddhas in there; the temple happily sells you the opportunity to be sufficiently devout. They also sell white people the chance to ring a bell obnoxiously in the middle of the courtyard. Every time this happened, the white person in question would grin like an idiot and the Chinese people around would generally throw him disapproving looks, at which point he’d either ring it again or hand it to the next 白人。 很好玩

The Confucian temple was cool enough, but weird for a couple reasons. First, it was pretty empty, relatively speaking. Normally anywhere this pretty would be packed to the brim with various chinese tourists, but I guess ol’ 孔夫子 isn’t quite as popular these days.
Second, it doesn’t make much sense conceptually, because Confucianism isn’t really a capital R religion so much as a set of social guidelines intended to inform how people ought to approach different relationships. It’d sorta be like building a big shrine to Rousseau or Nozick or something — it’s hard to find a Western parallel. If you have a better one, feel free to comment.  Third, ok this isn’t weird so much as funny, but Dan tried to buy a coke with a torn bill and the shopkeepers had to chase him down as he was leaving.  He has been trying to foist this bill off on people for forever, and it doesn’t really work. Upsets people even more than trying to pay for bus fare with nothing but dimes, which is a new favorite hobby of mine. Screw the Jiao, dude.

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